The Yankees already had a better lineup, a better team, a better outlook, better playoff odds, a better manager, a better GM and better ownership than the Red Sox do, but that didn’t stop them from going out and acquiring a 10-time all-star who most people didn’t even know was on the market.
But, leave it to the Yankees to leave no stone unturned as they try to improve their team for the stretch run. The Red Sox, meanwhile, engaged in a blockbuster deal of their own, sending renowned utility man Brent Lillibridge to the Indians for a couple of minor league guys who will never come close to seeing the majors. Hey, I get it. Anytime you can trade for nothing, you’ve got to do it.
And the problem is, I think the Sox are going to stop there. I don’t think they’re going to make any trades, despite a struggling rotation, a suddenly middling bullpen, a lineup that features Friendly Mike Aviles and a designated hitter who is on the shelf for God knows how long.
Did I mention the struggling rotation? Lester and Josh Beckett have been two of the worst pitchers in baseball, to the point where I’m legitimately excited if it’s Aaron Cook’s turn through the rotation. Yet, despite the big-name pitchers out there (Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Zack Greinke) on the trade market, the Red Sox and their Smashing Pumpkins GM will stand pat because they don’t want to sell and lose ratings, and they don’t want to buy and add salary/lose prospects when they aren’t convinced that the team is going anywhere this season anyway.
The Yankees, though, they got a guy who wins the Gold Glove every single year to improve their woeful outfield defense. That same guy is now their team leader in steals, can actually provide a little bit of pop with the short right field at Yankee Stadium and gives Hiroki Kuroda a friend in the clubhouse, keeping them both happy.
Ichiro has one of the best arms in the majors, is bound for the Hall of Fame, once had 262 hits in a year – Jarrod Saltalamacchia has 60 this year – and is considered the greatest Japanese player in history. Yeah, he’s a decent addition.
And I know that he’s having a career-worst year at the plate, but wouldn’t you be having a career-worst year at the plate too if you had to play at Safeco Field for the Mariners, where the only highlight is getting to watch Felix Hernandez pitch every fifth day? Other then that, it’s just a horrific vortex of losing, having no fans, having no media coverage and being forgotten about in a division that features three other teams right in the playoff hunt.
Now that he’s in New York, he’ll start hitting again – you just watch. He’s too good to just suck this entire season, especially because his at-bats now mean something. The Yankees get to enjoy watching him torment defenses and baserunners alike, and the Red Sox get to enjoy watching nobody on their team do anything the least bit productive. It’s a really nice situation.
Of course, could I trash on Ichiro if I felt like it? Well yeah. I could mention that he looks like a 9-year-old softball-playing girl every time he falls out of the batter’s box when he swings, or I could just who you this picture, but that’s not what I’m here to do. I’m not here to tell you that he’s not even that cool because he doesn’t have nearly the porn collection that Hideki Matsui has or that he’s not as suave as Yu Darvish. No.
I’m here to tell you that the Yankees got better while the Red Sox are sitting around finger-popping each other’s a-holes. And the Yankees not only got better, but they added a guy who is going to absolutely CRUSH the Red Sox when the two teams play.
Let me paint you a picture: Red Sox-Yankees. A nice, crisp August day at Fenway with the birds chirping and Jerry Remy acting suicidal, and Ichiro steps to the plate.
Lester peers in and looks for the sign, then throws three straight pitches no where near the strike zone while barking into his glove and walking towards Saltalmacchia with a threatening look. The fourth pitch nearly hits Ichiro, and he trots down to first-base with the first of his three four-pitch walks on the evening.
Then, while on first base, he doesn’t even try to pretend he’s not stealing – because the Red Sox can’t hold runners – and he takes off for second. Saltalamacchia’s throw winds up in the triangle, and Ichiro comes all the way around and scores while Jacoby Ellsbury injures his dick trying to find the ball near the bullpen.
Something along those lines will happen, and it might happen multiple times in one game. I’m not done.
In the bottom half of the inning, Ryan Sweeney lines one over Mark Teixiera’s head at first base and it goes towards the right field foul pole. Sweeney – thinking two right out of the box – gets GUNNED down by Ichiro when he’s not even halfway to second. Then the game settles in, and the Yankees win 11-2, after Adrian Gonzalez extends his league-leading average with two-outs and runners in scoring position by going deep with a runner on second in the ninth inning of an 11-0 game.
Just wait. The next two weeks are going to be filled with “Ichiro finding a home in New York” stories, and his play is going to reflect that stupid headline. He’s only played for a contender once in his career, and the Yankees are nothing if not a contender.
The Sox’ best Japanese import looks like a fat lesbian trying to be a member of one of those Asian gangs. The Yankees had that slug Hideki Irabu, then Hideki Matsui, then Hiroki Kuroda and now they have Ichiro.
So, in short, eff me.